The British ‘caste system’

The British ‘caste system’ is more prevalent than the Indian

by Edward Hamala

In response to the letter by Roger Williams captioned “The Rig Veda does refer to caste” (07.07.23) I thought I might share a few points with your readers.

The Indian “caste system” that has so outraged Mr. Roger Williams, makes me wonder if he is equally outraged by the British “caste system” that is even more prevalent, although it is well hidden and “invisible” in the British and some European societies, where the nobility still exist, than it is in India today, where all noble titles have been abolished.

I would like to ask Mr. Williams when objecting to birthrights why has he failed to raise the same objection to the British Nobility and the Landed Gentry’s birthright, inheriting their title, social status while they are also guaranteed perpetual political power by inheriting a peer-ship and a seat in the British House of Lords, the highest legislative body of the land?

Few of us believe the existence of a truly egalitarian society in the west today or anywhere for that matter!When was the last time that Mr. Williams had a drink at the local pub with Lord Spencer? Or had tea with Prince Phillip?

Did you know that the English nobility are distinctly noticeable by their education and grooming in institutions such as Wetherby, Ludgrove, and Eton or the Royal Academy at Sandhurst? They even speak a different language, the King’s English, free from colloquialism and dialects distinctly separating them, and distinguishing them from ordinary commoners, as soon as they open their mouths. May I also remind you that the Indian Social Structure as it was depicted in the Vedas Millenniums ago, made it an edict to leave Tribals and Adivasis alone and not to impose Hindu religion, culture or values on them.The word “caste” my friend is an English word! The Sanskrit word for “caste” is “Varna” and it means vocation or occupation and does not mean “caste” as it does in the English interpretation or translation of the term!Likewise, “untouchable” meant not to go near them, don’t touch them, don’t intermarry with them and don’t corrupt their culture don’t try to conform them. Leave them alone!The unfortunate thing was that Mahatma Gandhi was also British educated, trained as a lawyer and had little or no knowledge about the ancient Vedic philosophy, history or culture. What little Gandhi knew about Vedic philosophy was mostly thought to him by Vinoba Bhave, an avid freedom fighter, a devoted supporter of the Mahatma who was a Hindu monk and a highly educated Brahman who among other things spoke 14 languages.It was Vinoba Bhave who connected Gandhi’s political views with Vedic values and philosophy that gained such a wide appeal and the support of the Indian masses. If Gandhi would have had a better grasp of Vedic Philosophy he would have been able to counter many of these British myths and instead of being an apologist he could have challenged and defeated the British, the most classist society, at their own game.Let me ask you, Mr. Williams, what modern country that you know of today still have primitive tribals living undisturbed, “uncivilized” and untouched by their society living around them? As they do in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India? Did you know that these islands are off limits to all Indian citizens, to protect these tribals?Is it done to discriminate against the tribals as “untouchables” or is it done to protect them?The State of Assam, was a similar tribal area until it got overran by zealous Christian Missionaries that have destroyed their social fibre and their culture.

Westerners can’t seem to resist the temptation of trying to impose their political and social values and religions on other cultures!
How many societies does Mr. Williams know, where a group of refugees arrived and sought refuge as the Jews did in Kerala, India in 70 AD and were given sanctuary and freedom to practice their religion. This community lived and prospered in India without anyone trying to convert them and many returned to their homeland when the State of Israel was created!
The same holds true for the Parsi refugees arriving from Persia when the forceful Muslim conversion was taking place there and they are still practicing their own ancient religion as Zoroastrians and no one tried to convert them.
Recently, a large number of Tibetians arrived in India along with the Dalai Lama and they were all received graciously and were given sanctuary.
I suggest Mr. Williams should ask the Australian aboriginals or the American Indians if they would prefer to be untouched by their foreign invaders or if they preferred to be forced to conform to an alien culture that was imposed on them, by forcefully removing their children to place them into Christian institutions where violence and sexual abuse was rampant.
It has destroyed their self esteem, traditions and culture. The Eastern Indian social structure was designed that different castes served each other, each with a distinct duty to perform for the benefit of the whole of society.
It was a farmer’s duty to teach his son to be a good farmer and the merchant’s to teach his son his craft, while the warrior was trained to be the protector and defender of all………..It is also noteworthy that governance was the duty of the Kshatryas not to rule by whims and despotism as it was the rulers privilege in the “civilized west” but to rule in accordance with the Vedic principles.
Yet the highest caste, above them all was not the Kings who were given the highest social position. It was the Brahmans who were the custodians of all the Vedic Sciences and knowledge and their duty was to teach and to preserve the knowledge of Vedas.
The teachers, the priests, the doctors, the scientists and philosophers the poets and the writers were all Brahmans whose duty also included giving moral guidance to the Kings! It is simplistic to believe that a farmer or a potter would be capable to teach their children nuclear science or medicine or the Vedas!
This educational system assured the proper training and apprenticeship of all with a life time of gainful employment for all the participants.

This, Mr. Williams, has established an interesting value system in India, alien to the west! The most valuable asset was not money or power as it is today in the western value system! It was knowledge and wisdom that took decades to learn and a life time to acquire! And it was the society’s duty to support the Brahmans to afford their study providing food, clothing and shelter to them.

I am sure Mr. Williams is familiar with the existence of the “unwashed” wretched underclass in Dickens’s Britain or Victor Hugo’s France as it did exist in most of Europe……… Well, such a thing did not exist in India and these facts are well documented by historians all the way back to Alexander the Great’s visit to India and was minutely recorded by Greek Historians such as Arrian, Diodorus, Plutarch and Strabo, accompanying Alexander. One thing these historians also commented on, was the absence of slavery that was an integral part of Hellenic culture!

Today, most Indians are alienated and mostly ignorant about their culture, the Vedas and their history, and few understand the Vedic philosophy or its teachings or the highly advanced science it encompasses. They know little else about Hinduism, besides the ritualistic traditions. This Vedic social structure was put in place at the time when in the rest of the world slavery was rampant and pivotal to every European Empire!

Don’t forget slavery was widely practiced in the United States until the Civil War to the 1860’s and desegregation only started in the 1960’s and the prejudices still exist until today.

So I think, Mr. Williams your indignation is somewhat ill placed and perhaps it would serve a better purpose if you dealt with more dire social issues that you may be more knowledgeable about, and better qualified to deal with. http://hinduamerica.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=206&Itemid=9

1) Europe’s Civilising Mission @ http://www.neurope.eu/articles/87642.php

Invading the SACRED @ https://worldmonitor.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/invading-the-sacred/

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10 responses to “The British ‘caste system’

  1. Pingback: Invading The Sacred « WORLD MONITOR

  2. Pingback: UK Hindu Council on caste system « WORLD MONITOR

  3. Pingback: ** INVADING the SACRED « INDIA SECULAR

  4. Dear Edward,

    Thanks for a great post…I will be putting excerpts on my blog (with full attribution of course).

  5. Pingback: Europe’s Civilising mission ? « WORLD MONITOR

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  7. Pingback: Europe’s Roma:(Gypsies) « WORLD MONITOR

  8. Pingback: @ Europe’s Civilising mission « Honest Reporting

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  10. […]The Indian “caste system” that has so outraged Mr. Roger Williams, makes me wonder if he is equally outraged by the British “caste system” that is even more prevalent[…]

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